Why B2B Companies Need A Paid Social Strategy Now More Than Ever

Most B2B companies suck at social media.  OK, it’s not just B2B companies.  But that’s where I want to focus for this post.  You may not have thought about this before, but social media is probably more beneficial for B2B companies than B2C ones.  Of course, this likely depends on the companies and industries we’re talking about.  But I’m just saying in general.

They’re selling to businesses

Think for a minute about all the attributes that are unique for selling to businesses as opposed to individuals…

  • You have to sell long-term value more than short-term experiences
  • You have to sell to groups of people
  • You have to sell for longer since there’s more dollars, people and commitment involved from the business
  • You have to build more trust & relationship because of the investment they’re making
  • You have to ensure the success of the buyer (not just sell them the product) in order to maintain long-term relationships
  • You have to sell your service and support more heavily

Now think about how social media addresses all of these uniquely well…

  • You have to sell long-term value more than short-term experiences.  This becomes more natural as you are able to share the story of your business and your customers over time.  This communicates more effectively than an advertisement or two.
  • You have to sell to groups of people.  This becomes easier because everyone has equal access and exposure to your news, resources, and expertise in your niche.
  • You have to sell for longer since there’s more dollars, people and commitment involved from the business.  This gets shortened because people can have direct access to other people who can answer their questions.
  • You have to build more trust & relationship because of the investment they’re making.  This happens more easily because buyers get help from and familiar with the people behind the investment they’re making.
  • You have to ensure the success of the buyer (not just sell them the product) in order to maintain long-term relationships.  This is more likely to occur when customers are interacting with the people who make the products instead of salespeople.
  • You have to sell your service and support more heavily.  This happens naturally because you’re already providing it before each sale.

Social media offers businesses an opportunity.  It’s the opportunity to make meaningful connections and to gain their audience’s attention by distributing something of value (that they can also share – amplification FTW!); like teaching them something that will make them better at their jobs or solving their top problems.

There’s like over a billion people there.  That’s billion with a “B.”  Those people are looking to engage others who have the same interests, passions, concerns, etc. as them.  Those engagements then turn into brand familiarity, perception and loyalty…and yes, ultimately sales down the line.

But, there’s a big problem…

Organic reach has been ruined

The big problem over the years has been that companies get on these amazing social media platforms just to talk about themselves in their efforts to get their audience to think well of them or buy their stuff.  They solve for their company problems instead of their customers’.  Needless to say, that’s nothing but a turnoff for the most part.

This has led to what Avinash Kaushik aptly named the Zuck Death Spiral.  The spiral is this…

Businesses post company-focused content > Humans don’t engage > Social platforms give less visibility to business posts > Humans engage less > Social platforms give even less visibility

Avinash points out that most brands get less than 1% Reach via their organic contributions on social platforms. And, less than 1% engagement of any kind from that less than 1% reached.

Go look at the reach and engagement of your company page compared to the amount of followers you have.  What % of your followers actually see your content?  What percentage of those that see your content like, comment and share it?  That should show you all you need to know about how you’re doing.

Paid Social offers solutions

Consider how Paid Social offers solutions to the Zuck Death Spiral…

Paid Social gets you the reach your content deserves

All that time, money and energy spent creating your assets and posting them only to get 1% of your audience to see it?  Compared to what you’re already investing in employees and content creation, using Paid Social to gain the reach your content deserves should make sense.  Of course, that’s only if your content actually deserves it, meaning it’s solving for your customers problems and will get the type of engagement that valuable content should get.

Paid Social keeps you accountable

Yes, you’re paying for your social media team or agency, the posting tool, the analytics tool, etc.  But there’s something about paying for the exposure of your content that drives home the importance of creating content that’s worthy of that investment.  Do you really want to pay to promote content that’s going to get .0001% engagement from your followers?  Rather than creating a bunch of non-engaging posts, how about creating a few glorious assets that your audience will adore and share the love with their connections?

Yes, it’ll require more effort from your team than the traditional “check out the cool stuff going on at our company” posts.  But, that’s what led to the death spiral in the first place!

Paid Social keeps your content alive

For any organic reach your content does attain, it has a very limited time window to be seen and engaged with.  With Paid Social, you get to decide how long to promote the content, as well as how much of an investment you want to make into each piece; guided by the feedback from your audience engagement with it of course!  Over time, you learn more about what your audience likes and doesn’t like, and then you go do more of what they like and less of what they don’t like.

Paid Social can build your owned audience

While social media platforms are amazing and should be use to their fullest extent, you don’t own or control those relationships, data, policies, etc.  But these platforms have matured in their abilities to allow you to build your owned audiences through newsletter signups, gated content, etc.  Your owned audience should be one that engages you even more than your rented ones on the social platforms do.

Go develop a killer Paid Social strategy

Marketing in the age of the web is about being giving, touchable and transparent.  It’s about admitting faults and communicating how you’re fixing them.  As the Facebook generation has started moving into the boardroom, customers want to speak to people, not brands.  At its core, what social media does for B2B companies is connect customers with the people behind the products they’re buying.

Social media will never be great at building relationships.  But, it can drive connections with both new and current customers, while keeping them informed about what’s happening to enhance trust and credibility for when people do interact personally offline.

Social platforms need to solve for what their users want; and they don’t want business fluff.  But, this doesn’t mean you should abandon them.  If you use them correctly, they are still amazing marketing tools that should be utilized to their fullest extent.  It just means you should adjust the approach, budget, tools, manpower, etc. that you dedicate to them.

For right now, abandon any hope of organic social ever being worth what and how you’re currently investing in it and go develop a killer Paid Social strategy.

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About the Author

Mike Fleming

Mike Fleming is a Sr. Manager of Paid Media at Granular, and has been managing PPC accounts of all kinds for over 7 years; with a strong emphasis in Analytics and Conversion Optimization. He’s a respected digital marketing blogger and speaker whose articles can be found on industry blogs like SEMRush.com and SearchEngineGuide.com. He also contributed to a published book called The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music, playing basketball and investing. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.